Published on Oct 19, 2021
With the age of the internet upon us, you might find that old-fashioned interviews are going out of style. Employers have turned to Zoom and other virtual outlets for interviews and networking, but what does this mean for you? It means that you should be ready to present yourself in a virtual setting, which can be hard if you’re especially used to in-person interviews. As you navigate virtual encounters, consider these things:
Dress the Part
It might be tempting to under-dress for an interview because you’re in the comfort of your own home. Try not to do that. People dress professionally for in-person interviews for a reason: it shows the employer that you are serious about the role and would be a great fit for the company. You still have to convey that message, even if you’re looking at each other through a screen.
Spruce Up Your Room
Similarly, your room should convey a professional tone. Obviously, you don’t have to destroy every hint of your personality. Actually, keeping some things in the background that hint at the type of person you are is a great way to start a conversation and break the ice. You just can’t leave your dirty laundry and old noodle cups lying around. Clean up the trash in your room and spruce up the area that’s going to be directly in sight of the camera. This way you seem more put together.
If you don’t live alone, that’s okay. Once you set up your background, let your roommates or housemates know that you’re in a very important interview and that you need quiet. Ask them to be mindful for at least an hour and that you’ll let them know when you’re finished. That way, you can keep your entire focus on the interviewer and maintain your confidence.
Don’t Look at the Screen
Just like in regular interviews, eye contact is key. It lets the interviewer know you’re confident and involved in the conversation. When your platform is video chat, making eye contact can be tricky. Keep in mind that when you watch the video bubble on the screen, your eyes are looking down. So, look straight at the camera instead. This way, when the interviewer looks at you on their screen it feels like you’re actually making eye contact.
R and R: Research and Relax
Despite the technical differences, it’s still just an interview. Relax. Address the occasion like you would an in-person meeting. Do your background research on the company and learn as much as you can. Then, come up with some questions so that you can have a real discussion with your potential employer. Once you feel like you have all the information you need, take a break. You won’t do well if you psyche yourself out.
All-in-all, virtual interviewing is nothing to sweat over. It just requires a few extra steps. If you need some extra help with preparing for the interview, Mizzou’s Student Success Center offers some great tips. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or need career advice.